CNN Making Ratings Strides With Original

Some solid performances from its original series have helped CNN gain on its primary news competition in the ratings.

During the second quarter, according to Nielsen estimates, CNN leap-frogged MSNBC in total-day viewership (344,000 to 337,000) as well as the 25-54 demo (106,000 to 104,000) — the first time it has placed second among the news networks since the second quarter of last year (a particularly heavy news period). Fox News Channel remained the leader in both categories.

In primetime, MSNBC still rated ahead of CNN in total viewers for a third straight quarter (569,ooo to 472,000), but CNN tied with MSNBC in adults 25-54 (162,000). The Turner network also was runner-up to FNC in dayside (9-4 p.m.) averages in both total viewers (378,000) and the demo (93,000).

CNN’s newest original series, “The Sixties,” averaged about 1.1 million total viewers and 297,000 adults 25-54 with its first five Thursday 9 p.m. premieres, placing second among news networks in the timeslot, according to Nielsen.

Its primetime performance on the weekends is where CNN has looked best in comparisons to its rivals, finishing ahead of Fox News in adults 25-54 (189,000) during the quarter and running second to Fox in total viewers (483,000).

Leading the way on the weekend was the third season of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” which won its Sunday 9 p.m. time period — averaging 402,000 adults 25-54 over its eight premiere airings and showing gains vs. last year.

And following it at 10 p.m. on Sundays, the second season of “Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man” finished a close second to HLN among cable newsers in adults 25-54 (228,000), rising 16% vs. its 2013 average in a time period where Fox News declined 36% (to 120,000) and MSNBC was down by 25%. (to 206,000).

Other CNN shows ranked second among the news networks in their respective time periods, including “Early Start With John Berman and Christine Romans,” “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” “AC 360″ (beating MSNBC’s “Chris Hayes” in the demo), “Smerconish,” “Inside Politics With John King,” “State of the Union With Candy Crowley,” “Fareed Zakaria GPS” and”Reliable Sources With Brian Stelter.”

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